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Bad News for Short People

A report from June issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology reports that People of shorter stature face higher mortality rates than taller people from most causes except cancer. In a study of more than 30,000 men and women undertaken by Dr.Pekka Jousilahti and his colleagues from the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, it was found that there was an association between adult height and mortality. The researchers found that with Each 1 cm increase in height; represented about a 2% decrease in mortality. Each 5-cm height increase in men brought an 11% reduction in cardiovascular mortality, a 32% reduction in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease mortality, a 12% reduction in mortality from violence and accidents, the report indicates. For women, the reduction per 5-cm height increase was 14% for cardiovascular mortality. However, height did not predict cancer mortality for either men or women. Height was inversely associated with serum cholesterol and family history of stroke in both men and women, the investigators noted. "In conclusion, we found that short stature was associated with most of the assessed risk factors as well as with socioeconomic status and that it predicted higher mortality," the authors write. "The inverse association between height and mortality partly was mediated through the known risk factors for disease, but height also had a significant independent relation to mortality," they add. "Thus, genetic factors, and environmental factors during the fetal period, childhood, and early adolescence, which determine adult height, appear to be related to a person's health later in life."

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